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stretching for PF

Posted by Alicia on 12/26/98 at 00:00 (002847)

I've had PF for about 8 years on and off. In the past two months, it's gotten really worse - both feet. I've been reading as much as I can to help myself and I've always read that stretching was extremely important. Today I read that it may MIMIC THE CAUSE OF THE PF (reinjuring the PF) and so it is NOT recommended. HELP
! I'm at my wit's end. To stretch or not to stretch? That is the question...

Re: stretching for PF

Marilyn on 2/19/99 at 00:00 (004957)

Muscles can stetch (i.e. they're elastic); ligaments, tendons and fascia can not. Any attempt to stretch the fascia will result in tearing it. The body then responds be swelling causing pain and resulting in scar tissue. I've just tried this Prostretch device. I'm impressed. It works because the ground reaction force goes through the ankle joint complex. With other stretching techniques, the ground reaction force goes through the ball of the foot. This inherently causes a stetch throughout the fasica. Ouch

As for using the Prostretch, you have to align yourself carefully. I don't pronate at all but have to create this by internally rotating my hip in order that I don't stretch my fasica as well. As well, muscles only lengthen on a deep exhale. So breath deeply.

Hope this helps.


Re: stretching for PF

Robin on 12/26/98 at 00:00 (002851)

Interesting topic, this stretching. I was thinking about posting a message myself that would be almost like yours. Everything I have read about PF says stretch, stretch, stretch. Even saw an orthopedic surgeon about a knee problem and we got to talking about PF, he said 'you gotta' stretch.' So I stretched -- cautiously but regularly.

Frankly, I have all day pain when I stretch. When I don't -- I have some relatively good moments. Not many -- but even some beat all day pain. Alicia, do you feel better when you stretch regularly or when you don't?

I am wondering how much of the PF problem depends on the type of arch one has. When the podiatrist examined my foot, he said that I have a high arch (that is falling a little with age) and a very flexible foot. He said that everytime I walk and extend the foot, because it's so flexible the plantar fascia just over-stretches right along with the forward movement of my foot and gets inflamed and over-stretched. (I used to walk 4-5 miles a day, so you can imagine the forward movement.) He said to try OTC arch supports (and if those didn't work, he would be happy to make me $350 orthotics. Yeah, sure.)

Right now I'm using glucosamine sulfate, Birk style shoes with a low footbed and good arch support that keep my feet at a 90 degree angle, along with no stretching and minimal icing. The shoes help the most. I understand the logic of stretching my calf muscles, but I don't understand the logic of stretching the actual plantar fascia when it is already inflamed or damaged. Would like to hear other people's experiences with stretching, positive or negative.


Re: stretching for PF

kd on 12/26/98 at 00:00 (002852)

I tried stretching and a bike ride in the same day two weeks ago . since then its been much worse both feet GO SLOWER THEN SLOW and mild

Re: stretching for PF

Alicia on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002864)

Robin: I can tell no difference between stretching and not stretching. I think the calf stretching helps, but the PF stretching makes it somewhat worse. I am going to see my podiatrist this week. Planning on asking him if it's time to re-make MY $350 orthotics. I've had them for 2-3 years and only reconditioned them once about a year ago. I'm hoping against hope that it might make a difference to get new ones. They are the only thing that has helped me in the past.
Up until about two months ago, my PF came and went - never really pain free, but two months ago it got really bad - 24/7 pain. Do your birks not cause back of the heel pain? I have tried them, but find they are not supportive enough on the back of my heel. Thanks for replying.

Re: stretching for PF

Gina on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002867)

Stretching, especially the calf, seems to help. The best way I've found to do this is to swim first (warms up the leg muscles),then go in the whirlpool and after a few minutes of that I sit with my legs straight in front of me, bend forward, grasp the ball of the foot and pull it forward and hold for a minute. This is kind of like the towel-stretch deal, only without the towel. Afterward, my feet feel really great; best time of day for me! I think the warm-up first produces the best stretches.

Re: stretching for PF

cheryl on 12/27/98 at 00:00 (002868)

I found that if I overstretch it hurts my foot worse. I found
if I use my heel lifts/high heels and my stretch sock at night
my foot stays stretched and I am out of pain. I have high arches
too and found that when I do this I can run again. I use the heel
lifts recommeded by Scott and talso the sock he recommended.
I use to stretch and ice before, now it really doesn't help. My
problem may be worse now to benefit.

Re: stretching for PF

Jacki on 1/10/99 at 00:00 (003225)

I've been wondering about this myself because every time I try to stretch, my heels hurt worse! Icing also seems to increase the pain. I'm just curious as to how you can stretch the calf without stretching the fascia? Thanks!

Re: stretching for PF

Marilyn on 2/19/99 at 00:00 (004957)

Muscles can stetch (i.e. they're elastic); ligaments, tendons and fascia can not. Any attempt to stretch the fascia will result in tearing it. The body then responds be swelling causing pain and resulting in scar tissue. I've just tried this Prostretch device. I'm impressed. It works because the ground reaction force goes through the ankle joint complex. With other stretching techniques, the ground reaction force goes through the ball of the foot. This inherently causes a stetch throughout the fasica. Ouch

As for using the Prostretch, you have to align yourself carefully. I don't pronate at all but have to create this by internally rotating my hip in order that I don't stretch my fasica as well. As well, muscles only lengthen on a deep exhale. So breath deeply.

Hope this helps.